Cover image for The kid who named Pluto : and the stories of other extraordinary young people in science
The kid who named Pluto : and the stories of other extraordinary young people in science
McCutcheon, Marc.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Francisco, Calif. : Chronicle Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
85 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 22 cm
A collection of profiles of children and young adults whose scientific inventions made an impact on the world, including Louis Braille who discovered a way for the blind to read and write.
The boy who dreamed of Mars -- The girl who named Pluto -- The bookworm who became a science fiction writer -- The teenager who invented television -- The curious girl who discovered sea-monster skeletons -- The high schooler who created an incredible secret code -- The math whiz who calculated the movement of the moon -- The fourth-grader who outsmarted medical experts -- The blind boy who developed a new way to see.
Reading Level:
1020 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 7.6 2.0 87609.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 7.4 5 Quiz: 38786 Guided reading level: X.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Q141 .M3577 2004 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Q141 .M3577 2004 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Which of the following were discovered or invented by kids?
a) Television
b) Pterodactyl fossils
c) Braille
Answer: All of the above!

These important contributions to science and many others were the result of the efforts of curious and smart kids who often started with only a simple idea or sketch. This fascinating book tells the stories of nine such kids, all of who made lasting impacts in science. Included are some well-known innovators, such as Louis Braille and physicist Robert Goddard, as well as lesser-known people like Philo Farnsworth, the teen inventor of television, and Mary Anning, the great paleontologist credited with finding dozens of spectacular fossils from the Jurassic period as a young girl. Each chapter is a testament to what young people can achieve through curiosity, imagination and persistence.

Author Notes

Marc McCutcheon is a freelance writer & author of several books, including "The Facts on File Student's Thesaurus." He lives in South Portland, ME.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-6. At the age of 14, Philo T. Farnsworth sketched a device that would, many refinements later, become known as the television set. Mary Anning, the British Princess of Paleontology, was the first to discover an ichthyosaur specimen at age 12. Readers will also find profiles of seven other figures, though some fit less snugly into the Extraordinary Young People in Science category claimed by the subtitle. A few were fairly seasoned by the time they made their seminal contributions (the author tends to glide over exact dates, making calculating ages difficult), and Isaac Asimov, strictly speaking, worked more in fiction than in science. But kids won't mind that the organizing principle is a bit elastic; the stories themselves remain interesting and inspiring. Cannell's sprightly sketches, often mimicking doodles in a lab notebook, convey the gung-ho enthusiasm that links all the subjects. Further readings are appended; source notes would have made this even better. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

The Kid Who Named Pluto: And the Stories of Other Extraordinary Young People in Science by Marc McCutcheon, illus. by Jon Cannell offers true stories that focus on nine prodigies who changed the face of science, such as Philo Taylor Farnsworth in "The Teenager Who Invented Television" (he made the first design for a television when he was only 14, according to his bio) and Mary Anning whose discovery (in the early 1800s) of an ichthyosaur skeleton as a 12-year-old led her to a life as a paleontologist in "The Curious Girl Who Discovered Sea-Monster Skeletons." (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-This book profiles nine people who made significant contributions to science while still quite young. Louis Braille and Robert Goddard are among the more famous, while others, such as television pioneer Philo Farnsworth and Venetia Burney, the girl who named Pluto, are less well known. Most of the figures are historical, but the inclusion of a couple of young geniuses from the 1990s adds contemporary perspective. All of them, four girls and five boys, are from Europe or the United States. The lively and lighthearted text conveys a sense of the excitement of discovery, with an appropriate amount of background information, along with the biographical facts. With Mary Anning, for instance, readers learn about the important fossil discoveries she made, and also get a general sense of early-19th-century paleontology. The Pluto chapter has just a couple of paragraphs about 11-year-old Venetia Burney, with more space devoted to the process by which planets get named, while the Isaac Asimov chapter follows his whole life and career. This varied emphasis keeps the material fresh and shows the diverse circumstances from which youthful inspiration can arise. Lively cartoon pen-and-ink illustrations, all in greens and grays, help to unify the individual chapters. There are a few tips on how kids can follow in the footsteps of these young achievers, but there's more emphasis on the general qualities of curiosity and hard work that can produce amazing results.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 11
The Boy Who Dreamed of Marsp. 13
The Girl Who Named Plutop. 20
The Bookworm Who Became a Science Fiction Writerp. 28
The Teenager Who Invented Televisionp. 37
The Curious Girl Who Discovered Sea-Monster Skeletonsp. 47
The High Schooler Who Created an Incredible Secret Codep. 54
The Math Whiz Who Calculated the Movement of the Moonp. 62
The Fourth-Grader Who Outsmarted Medical Expertsp. 69
The Blind Boy Who Developed a New Way to Seep. 74
Further Readingp. 84
Photo Creditsp. 85